Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 65
  1. #1
    jta
    jta is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    187

    What is the future of bike technology and design? Diminishing returns?

    Just thinking about recent advances in bike technology, design and materials in perhaps the past twenty years. If you look at bikes from 1998, they look pretty old from a technological standpoint. With more people opting for bicycles for transportation and recreation, it seems like there have been numerous, rapid advances in bike design.

    Are we getting to a point where designs are nearing their limits in performance gains - much like prop-driven aircraft and the internal combustion engine?

    What will be the industry focus in the near future? Aerodynamics, weight, comfort, safety, mechanical reliability, electronic everything? Will the beautiful simplicity of the bike disappear?

  2. #2
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    2,075
    Quote Originally Posted by jta View Post
    Just thinking about recent advances in bike technology, design and materials in perhaps the past twenty years. If you look at bikes from 1998, they look pretty old from a technological standpoint. With more people opting for bicycles for transportation and recreation, it seems like there have been numerous, rapid advances in bike design.

    Are we getting to a point where designs are nearing their limits in performance gains - much like prop-driven aircraft and the internal combustion engine?

    What will be the industry focus in the near future? Aerodynamics, weight, comfort, safety, mechanical reliability, electronic everything? Will the beautiful simplicity of the bike disappear?
    Enough Bogarting Take a puff and pass it along brother....

  3. #3
    δanned
    Reputation: SauronHimself's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    6,887
    Quote Originally Posted by jta View Post
    What will be the industry focus in the near future? Aerodynamics, weight, comfort, safety, mechanical reliability, electronic everything? Will the beautiful simplicity of the bike disappear?
    Aerodynamics will likely be a continuing focus, albeit an uphill battle. Weight, comfort, and mechanical reliability will probably evolve with advances in materials science. Safety can only go so far as we're talking about bikes here, and against cars they always lose. Much of the industry's design is limited by what the UCI states. There are obvious exceptions, but if you look at any road bike available on the open market it has to meet UCI rules, and they put a damper on everyone's parade.
    Ghurarmu shirkush’ agh azgushu. Zant ya apakurizak. Gűl-n’ anakhizak.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Oxtox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    10,096
    my titanium-frame bike from 1998 doesn't have electronic shifting.

    the horror of 'aging'...
    Ancient Astronaut theorists say, 'YES!'

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    388
    For recreational riders I think weight and durability are about the only things that can be improved on with any noticable effect. Aerodynamics is still dominated by rider position.

    I would like to see one of the major bike brands throw the UCI rule book out the window and see what they come up with. Only rule being it needs to be an upright race worthy bike. Get some engineers and designers who have no preconceived notions of what to make.

    I've been very curious about gearbox drive trans lately. Practically maintenance free and I think gear selection and shifting could be improved compared to what we have now. Maybe something will come along allowing gear boxes to be more efficient, lighter and cheaper to manufacture.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    197
    I've questioned the same thing, myself. I've been into road cycling since the 80's and while an outside observer might think that bikes haven't changed much over that time frame, an enthusiast knows the differences... and I think the technological improvements have been for the better.

    Some of the improvements I've seen in my cycling career (and much appreciate):


    • Indexed shifting (which is now integrated shifting)
    • Electronic shifting
    • Clipless pedals
    • Power meters
    • Carbon fiber everything
    • Disc brakes
    • Aero rims
    • Daylight visible safety lights (that don't require a ginormous battery)
    • Dramatic increases in frame stiffness where it counts (like the bottom bracket)
    • Comfort road bikes (Trek Madone, Specialized Roubaix, etc)


    So while the basic bicycle is the same, there's been a TON of innovation in the past few decades. I sometimes get nostalgic when looking at a mint condition steal frame from the '80s, but the reality is that I don't actually want to ride one of those bikes any more... even the low-end modern bikes out-perform the bikes of the past in just about every way.

    So, back to the original question... What's next?

    I'm a little concerned that the e-bike craze is going to stifle innovations for traditional bikes since companies are going to (for good reason) shift their resources towards innovating their e-bike offerings. At least for a little while, it seems like the $$$ for bike companies is in e-bikes.

    E-bikes aside, I'm not sure what features I think are missing from today's bikes that I even want. It seems like bikes like the new Trek Madone have everything I want... they're stiff, light, aero, and reasonably comfortable. It would seem that any gains to be had in the future will be so small that I'm not even sure they're worth pursuing. Do we really need our bikes to be any lighter? How much more aero can bikes actually get (and at what cost)? Is there a way to tweak more comfort out of a road frame?

    I'm just hoping that much of the technology we're seeing in today's $12k bikes trickles down to affordable price points... that's really the only thing I 'want' right now. I'd really like to be able to afford a power meter, electronic shifting, a comfortable aero frame, etc., but as of right now, I'm not willing to sell a kidney to get those things.

    I can imagine that like most most industries, further integration of computer technology into our bikes will continue. For example, Specialized now has a phone app that is part of their new ANGi helmet line-up. I can only imagine our bikes will start to have more and more sensors that will feed metrics to our phones. To me, I don't know if I see that as an improvement that I really care about, but I'm pretty sure it's going to happen.

    Bah... TL;DR I'm sure

  7. #7
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,830
    Guess what is listed as one of these? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mature_technology

    Bicycles.

    A mature technology is a technology that has been in use for long enough that most of its initial faults and inherent problems have been removed or reduced by further development. In some contexts, it may also refer to technology that has not seen widespread use, but whose scientific background is well understood.[1]

    One of the key indicators of a mature technology is the ease of use for both non-experts and professionals. Another indicator is a reduction in the rate of new breakthrough advances related to it—whereas inventions related to a (popular) immature technology are usually rapid and diverse,[2] and may change the whole use paradigm—advances to a mature technology are usually incremental improvements only.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  8. #8
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,830
    I expect "personal safety systems" to become a thing in the next couple of decades, but that won't be cycling specific. More adventure sports specific. It will, however, be spurred by things like this https://hovding.com/ which is most certainly a cycling product.

    I am NOT just talking airbags, but that's how it will start.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  9. #9
    The Slow One.
    Reputation: Alaska Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,713
    Question- how much true advancement do you believe road bike design has made in the last ten years? Or, is a bike made ten years from now going to be significantly better than one made today?

    I can say this- the two favorite bikes at the moment out of my collection are ten years old. A new arrival may shift that by five years, but it contains nothing that wasn't available in 2008. I may be a Luddite, but nothing released in the last decade has really increased my basic enjoyment of the sport over what already existed. Essentially road bikes have just been on a slow and steady refinement cruise while the bike industry lurches like a drunken sailor from one trend to the next. Disc brakes? Been around forever for other applications. Electronic shifting? Still a derailleur-based shifting system. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, which is how bike companies manage to sell new models every year.

  10. #10
    Russian Troll Farmer
    Reputation: No Time Toulouse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    1,807
    One thing that is nearly certain in the next decade is automated electronic shifting, interfacing with a cell phone app, using topographic information and GPS to shift automatically depending on your speed, cadence, and incline.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  11. #11
    jta
    jta is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Question- how much true advancement do you believe road bike design has made in the last ten years? Or, is a bike made ten years from now going to be significantly better than one made today?

    I can say this- the two favorite bikes at the moment out of my collection are ten years old. A new arrival may shift that by five years, but it contains nothing that wasn't available in 2008. I may be a Luddite, but nothing released in the last decade has really increased my basic enjoyment of the sport over what already existed. Essentially road bikes have just been on a slow and steady refinement cruise while the bike industry lurches like a drunken sailor from one trend to the next. Disc brakes? Been around forever for other applications. Electronic shifting? Still a derailleur-based shifting system. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, which is how bike companies manage to sell new models every year.
    I think that's the recurring theme of the thread: the bicycle is a mature technology that sees incremental performance gains and will occasionally see a bump in innovation. I guess the use of carbon fiber has certainly changed the industry in the past twenty years as it allows for shaped tubing that's lighter, stiffer, more aerodynamic and comfortable. The material's biggest drawback is its fragility in crashes. It would certainly be a vast improvement if you didn't have to risk thousands of dollars worth of bike every time you laid it down. (And I'm not implying that you need an expensive bike to enjoy the sport. I love riding a sub $1000 single speed bike as well.)

    Electronics and smart technology do seem to be the focus of the industry moving forward, but not sure how much that will enhance how much I enjoy riding. I still like mechanical shifting and rim brakes because they're reliable and easy to use and maintain.

    Agree, too, that marketing plays a key role in shaping industry trends, more so when innovation becomes stagnant.

    I started riding road bikes in 2010 and I guess the biggest change in that time period has been the switch to 11-speed drive trains (not really needed on my part) and electronic shifting, which I've avoided altogether.

  12. #12
    jta
    jta is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    187
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    I expect "personal safety systems" to become a thing in the next couple of decades, but that won't be cycling specific. More adventure sports specific. It will, however, be spurred by things like this https://hovding.com/ which is most certainly a cycling product.

    I am NOT just talking airbags, but that's how it will start.
    Wow. There's your innovation. The Scandinavians take bike safety seriously. If they offer a model that looks like a Viking helmet when inflated, sign me up.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    753

    What is the future of bike technology and design? Diminishing returns?

    Derailleur shifting hopefully gets replaced with a sealed, variable speed transmission. Let's face it, it's pretty crude and the chain and gears are out there exposed to dirt and water. I mean, the idea of derailing a chain and forcing it into an adjacent cog... It's amazing it works as well as it does.

    Brakes too are flimsy POS's. I'd like to see antilock brakes.

    Tires suck too. Too easy to flat and sealant is messy and not that great either. Why is it so hard to make a tire that won't be penetrated by a thorn?

    Suspension is too complicated for the average person to service and needs servicing too often. Stanchions exposed to dirt wearing away at the fork... Sucks.

    There's room for a lot of improvement.
    Last edited by mfdemicco; 1 Week Ago at 05:04 PM.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Akirasho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,152
    One undeniable truth. None of us will be there to see the ultimate it.

  15. #15
    Devoid of all flim-flam
    Reputation: Mapei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,028
    Quote Originally Posted by mfdemicco View Post
    Derailleur shifting hopefully gets replaced with a sealed, variable speed transmission. Let's face it, it's pretty crude and the chain and gears are out there exposed to dirt and water. I mean, the idea of derailing a chain and forcing it into an adjacent cog... It's amazing it works as well as it does.\
    Ooh did I love my old Sturmey-Archer internal shifter! I'd push the lever. Sometimes it shifted. More often it didn't, no matter how much thumb moxie I brought to bear. Sometimes the device would just collapse into the highest gear, usually when climbing up a hill. Rattle, rattle, crunch! Me falling to the ground when my legs gave up the ghost.

    It was a true revelation when I ditched the Sturmey-Archered gentleman's bike got a properly derailleur-ed 10 speed racing bike. It didn't matter it had the cheapest Huret shifter and would ooch itself into rattle-land whenever I went over a bump. A bit of on-board fine-tuning and the rattling would disappear. On a musical note, the rattle would always be more trebly in pitch when the chain was off-center toward the larger cog than toward the smaller one.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    7,191
    Quote Originally Posted by Akirasho View Post
    One undeniable truth. None of us will be there to see the ultimate it.
    I'm thankful for this. I like bikes just fine with mechanical shifting and rim brakes, steel tubes too.
    Too old to ride plastic

  17. #17
    Proud luddite
    Reputation: azpeterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    6,825
    I wonder if belt drives will replace chains/cogs. They’re common on tandems now.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    753
    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    Ooh did I love my old Sturmey-Archer internal shifter! I'd push the lever. Sometimes it shifted. More often it didn't, no matter how much thumb moxie I brought to bear. Sometimes the device would just collapse into the highest gear, usually when climbing up a hill. Rattle, rattle, crunch! Me falling to the ground when my legs gave up the ghost.

    It was a true revelation when I ditched the Sturmey-Archered gentleman's bike got a properly derailleur-ed 10 speed racing bike. It didn't matter it had the cheapest Huret shifter and would ooch itself into rattle-land whenever I went over a bump. A bit of on-board fine-tuning and the rattling would disappear. On a musical note, the rattle would always be more trebly in pitch when the chain was off-center toward the larger cog than toward the smaller one.
    That's not what I was talking about.

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    7,191
    Quote Originally Posted by azpeterb View Post
    I wonder if belt drives will replace chains/cogs. They’re common on tandems now.
    As far as tandems and belt drives, are the belts only used as the timing chain\belt?
    Too old to ride plastic

  20. #20
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation: rideit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    680
    This type of thing could be either very useful, or data/technology overload...

    https://www.quarq.com/tire-pressure-...0w5r1ixurg4kaq

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    7,191
    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    This type of thing could be either very useful, or data/technology overload...

    https://www.quarq.com/tire-pressure-...0w5r1ixurg4kaq
    TyreWiz

    That's just spending money to suck the enjoyment out of riding a bike.
    Too old to ride plastic

  22. #22
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation: rideit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    680
    And a LOT of damn money for the privilege.

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Lombard's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    7,880
    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    One thing that is nearly certain in the next decade is automated electronic shifting, interfacing with a cell phone app, using topographic information and GPS to shift automatically depending on your speed, cadence, and incline.
    Automatic transmissions for bikes? No thank you. I still enjoy driving a manual transmission car, but those are going the way of the dodo.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  24. #24
    pmf
    pmf is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    4,985
    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    I'm thankful for this. I like bikes just fine with mechanical shifting and rim brakes, steel tubes too.
    well said brother ... we hit the apex years ago. Carbon fiber everything, stealth paint jobs, electronic shifting, disc brakes, tubeless tires and rims, and ... ugh ... electric motors. Real improvements, or just stuff crammed down our throats by marketing departments whose job it is to convince people that they gotta have the latest "improvement".

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Lombard's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    7,880
    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    well said brother ... we hit the apex years ago. Carbon fiber everything, stealth paint jobs, electronic shifting, disc brakes, tubeless tires and rims, and ... ugh ... electric motors. Real improvements, or just stuff crammed down our throats by marketing departments whose job it is to convince people that they gotta have the latest "improvement".
    Was this really the apex or was it the beginning of the downhill slope?
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Law of diminishing returns
    By R865 in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 05-26-2016, 06:15 AM
  2. What is the point of diminishing return for wheels?
    By nolight in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 02-16-2013, 06:51 AM
  3. Cost vs. Benefit: Point Of Diminishing Returns?
    By SolitaryRider in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 66
    Last Post: 11-03-2011, 09:01 AM
  4. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 04-25-2009, 06:53 AM
  5. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-04-2007, 05:18 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT ROADBIKEREVIEW

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2018 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.